SAINT LEO, Fla. – Like their female counterparts, the 2010 Saint Leo men's cross country team saw major improvement over the course of their latest season. Competing in seven races over a three month span, the team, and the individuals consisting of the squad, concluded one of the most successful seasons in the program's history.
Overall, the year saw each member set new personal-best times, while shattering the record board with six, top-10 records. As a team, the Lions posted three, top-five finishes, including the runner-up position at the flrunners.com meet.
An extremely young group, the Lions saw seven of their 10 members take to the course with no higher than a sophomore standing. Leading the group of up and coming runners was freshman Bryan Hayes. Haynes had a successful stint in first season with the Green & Gold as he finished as the Lions' top runner in four of seven races. In addition, he quickly jumped to the top half of the record board as his Sunshine State Conference Championship run of 27:40.08 solidified him with the fourth fastest run in program history.
Haynes was not the only underclassman to make an impression on the team, as each of the other six made direct imprints. Devin Cannon and the David Malys demonstrated grit and determination to get through a seven-meet schedule and put their names right in the middle of the record book.Cannon and Malys used the SSC Championships as a coming out party, toppling the 8K course with record-setting times of 27:55.08 and 28:08.00, respectively.
The three remaining freshman, Justin Prengaman, Dylan Richardson, and Kevin Papac, showed development over the course of the season. The trio combined to compete in 19 of 21 races and eventually broke the 30 minute barrier by the end of the season.
Cannon's fellow sophomore, Eric Dirth, continued to advance as he hurdled the minute barrier during each of his seven meets, including a new personal top-time at the SSC Championships.
Carson Holton made huge strides as an individual and now owns a place in the Saint Leo record book after his efforts at the SSC's. Michael Berry was impressive from beginning to end, as the junior crossed the line first for the Lions on three separate occasions. He also set a new personal-best at the Championships with a time of 27.55.08.
Senior Matt Attal, who already finds himself in the Saint Leo top-times department, finished his time in the Green & Gold with an impressive campaign. While competing in all seven races, Attal had a sub-30 minute 8K finish on a pair of tries.
As a team, the Lions most memorable moment came at the flrunners.com meet in October. At the event, the team claimed its highest finish in program history. With 72 points, Saint Leo finished second of eight teams, trailing only SSC foe Florida Southern.
On the season, Coach Melissa Miller stated, "The squad demonstrated the ability to hold their ground as a team and improve upon individual performances throughout the season. Cross country is a sport about who has more heart, not necessarily more talent. It is also a sport that hurts and it takes the drive of determined individuals to be successful. I believe we have that with this current foundation. The group puts in the necessary miles during training, while pushing one another to go further."
Miller continued, "Our freshmen, Brian and David, did well adjusting to the 8K races, but there are is high expectation level for them next year as they gain familiarity with courses and training. In addition, Mike Berry's rigorous training throughout the summer will be highlighted even more during his senior season. His extra training and self discipline truly paid off. I look forward to what the men can do next year. There is talent on the men's side, but they have to be ready to go the extra mile at a fast pace.
Stay tuned to the announcement of the Lions' spring schedule in the near future.